Over the last forty years of teaching the Bible, I have learned some interesting things about how Christians determine what they believe. Unfortunately, one of the things I’ve learned is that many Christians never let the Bible get in the way of what they believe
A recent Barna Survey reveals that for the first time, most Americans now depend upon their own logic, tradition, or experience to formulate beliefs. Few actually take the Word of God as the basis of their beliefs. The result is what Jesus spoke about in Mark 7:13:
“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition.”
Most Christians today aren’t aware that their “old-time religion” is polluted with many traditions that void the power of God’s Word. While there are plenty of “man-made” traditions that are harmful, it comes as a complete shock to most believers that there are traditions instituted by God that can make His Word of no effect.
After you pick yourself up off the floor from that statement, let me explain. The Old Testament way of relating to God is not the same as the New Testament way of having a relationship with God. The Old Testament was legalistic and based on your performance. The New Testament, on the other hand, is a covenant of grace based on acceptance of what Jesus did. Because of that, there is a huge difference between the way people approached God under the Old and the way they should now approach Him under the New.
The book of Hebrews was written specifically to contrast this and to show us how to approach God through a new and living way. I have spent decades meditating on this book, and especially Hebrews chapter 10:16-23, which I believe summarizes the whole book of Hebrews.
Those verses read,
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.”
Under the Old Covenant, a sacrifice had to be offered every time a sin was committed. Then, once a year on the day of atonement, a sacrifice was made by the high priest for everyone and everything just in case something was missed. However, all these sacrifices were just types and shadows of the ultimate sacrifice that was to come (Heb. 9:8-12 and 24-28). Continue Reading